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Hyundai, Yandex Present Jointly Made Self-Driving Taxi

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Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. said Thursday it is ready to test a self-driving taxi it has developed with Russian internet firm Yandex, Autonews.ru reported. 

Under an initial agreement signed in March, Hyundai and Yandex have developed a driverless riding platform based on Hyundai’s Sonata midsize sedan. They will begin testing 100 self-driving taxis in Moscow this year, the statement said. 

“During the test period, there will be drivers sitting behind the wheel of robo-taxis in order to intervene in case of an emergency though they won’t be engaged in the driving,” a company spokesman said. The robo-taxies to be put to the test carry the Level 4 autonomous technology. In a Level 4 car, there is no need for the driver to take control, as the vehicle is designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor road conditions,” he added. 

The Russian tech giant has been testing autonomous vehicles on public roads since December 2017 to take the lead in the self-driving cabs markets.

Hyundai Mobis, a key affiliate, has expanded its business partnerships with overseas companies that have advanced future vehicle technologies.

Hyundai Mobis has been conducting a motorway test of Level 3 technology in the M.BILLY autonomous car since last year in South Korea, the U.S., and Europe.

Since Level 3 cars are only suitable for limited self-driving, the driver must be available to take control of the car if the need arises. A Level 3 car, if fully developed, will allow lane changes and other autonomous driving functions to work without intervention by the driver.

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Court in Gibraltar Extends Iranian Tanker’s Detention for 30 Days

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A court in Gibraltar has extended the detention of an Iranian oil tanker for 30 days, AFP reported, citing Gibraltar’s attorney general. According to the agency, the order authorising the detention of the tanker can be extended for up to 90 days.

“We look forward to continuing to work constructively and positively with officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran to facilitate the release of the Grace 1 pursuant to the satisfaction of all legal requirements,” Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told the territory’s parliament, as quoted by AFP.

On 4 July, the supertanker Grace 1 was detained off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory of Gibraltar on suspicions of it carrying oil to Syria for refinement.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt discussed the issue earlier this week, with Mr Zarif urging London to release the tanker. He also stressed that Tehran would continue its oil exports under any circumstances. Mr Hunt, for his part, said that the Grace 1 would be released once Iran gives guarantees about its destination.

The tanker’s four crew members were freed on bail earlier this month after being questioned.

The situation in the Gulf has remained tense since the US tightened the sanctions it reimposed on the Iranian oil sector after quitting the 2015 nuclear deal.

A series of incidents, including attacks on oil tankers, took place in the Gulf of Oman in May and June. Washington has blamed the attacks on Tehran, but the latter has denied all the accusations.

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Russia in Confidential Consultations with the Netherlands on MH17 Crash

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Russia is having confidential consultations with the Netherlands on MH17 flight that was downed over Donbass in July 2014, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Friday.

“Such consultations are underway, but we agreed that the process will have a confidential character,” the diplomat said.

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Links Between Russia and EU’s Right-Wing Parties Cause for Concern, Says Merkel

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Relations between Moscow and EU’s right-wing political parties are a cause for concern, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday during a press conference in Berlin.

“Some questions arise here,” she stated. “We have constantly monitored the very strong support that right-leaning parties have received from Russia in one way or the other.” “This is a cause for concern,” Merkel stressed.

The German chancellor also mentioned the scandal regarding the alleged financing of Italy’s Lega party by Russia, noting that the Italian side must investigate the allegations in detail.

Milan’s prosecution launched a case based on the publications on the US BuzzFeed website and in the Italian L’Espresso weekly news magazine shedding light on the alleged financing Lega was receiving from Russia, qualifying the case as international corruption.

The main suspect in the case is one of the associates of Italy’s Deputy PM Matteo Salvini, head of th-e Lombardy-Russia Association Gianluca Savoini. According to the prosecution, his voice can be heard on the BuzzFeed published audio recording of an alleged conversation with Russian entrepreneurs with ties to the Kremlin, during which a possible oil supply contract was discussed. The party could have received the deal dividends amounting to $65 mln.

Both Salvini and Savoini have denied the allegations.

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